A young woman discovers the truth about her past and escapes a monster in Christina Henry’s new novel, Near the bone.
title: Near the bone
author: Christina Henry
genre: Horror, thriller
Date published: April 13, 2021
paperback: 336 pages
A woman trapped on a mountain tries to survive more than one type of monster, in a terrifying horror novel by national bestselling author Christina Henry.
Matty does not remember a time until she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never upset him. But when Matty discovers a ragged body of a fox in the woods, she realizes they are not alone after all.
There is something in the forest that was not there before, something that makes a strange cry at night, something with sharp teeth and claws.
When three strangers appear on top of the mountain and search for the creature in the forest, Matty knows that their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.
Standalone or series: An independent novel
How I got this book: acquired
CW: Impact of rape, child abuse and other abuse
On a winter day like many others, Matty wakes up and performs her chores. Her husband, William, is not a patient man, nor is he kind. Mattie knows she’s a bad woman because she’s constantly disappointing William – she collects wool, she’s awkward, and most importantly, she has not been able to give birth to a son (even though she fulfills her duty as a woman every night). Mattie may not care about William’s approval, but she certainly knows she must avoid his rage – William’s caprice is often accompanied by beatings that leave Matty bruised and bloodied, even to the smallest provocations. (Or, in fact, even when there is no provocation beyond William’s financial temper.)
So, on this particular winter day, when Matty discovers shredded remnants of a fox and huge prints in the snow, she hesitates. She knows she has to pick up the rabbits from their traps otherwise there would be hell to pay, but no bear or other creature would do that to the fox. William as expected is troubled by Matty’s preoccupation and even more troubled when she tells him about the fox (it’s not Matty’s job to think), even though he decides to investigate. A bear, concludes William, and one who can feed them all winter if they can catch him.
However, soon, when William learns that the creature that left these imprints is not a bear. This is an impossible creature, like no one has ever seen, William is immediately worried about what the creature will bring with him: people. People who want to hunt the creature, people who want to explore it, people who might just discover William and Mattie’s secluded cabin.
For Matty – who has not seen another soul but has memories of a girl and a song she carefully removes from William – strangers who come to their mountain exciting and scary. And when Matty holds memories of a time outside the mountain and in front of William, she also understands very well that the creature on the mountain is very real and very dangerous. Matty is very good at feeling dangerous.
Near the bone It’s a kind of hybrid novel – part of it is a horror story of a feature-creature, part of it is a thriller in a locked room (or, rather, stuck on a mountain). But really, and most importantly, it’s a story about a young woman who is repeatedly confronted with incomprehensible horror. It’s not surprising that Mati was abducted, abused and her erased by her “husband” William – it’s also not surprising that Matty’s memories are split and disintegrated, her thoughts focused solely on survival. Near the bone Narrated in Matty’s voice and filtered through her thoughts, adding an even more frightening layer to the narrative – her focus on self-preservation, fighting with her desire to even imagine a world without William, is utterly shocking material. It’s the real horror novel and nightmare material – William’s blue glare, his physical and emotional abuse – and Christina Henry does an amazing job of putting Matti’s layers back, giving her voice strength and confidence as she learns more about her past and the prison William built for her. Know that this is not an easy book to read, but for Matty’s journey alone, it’s worth it.
Of course, the second part of this story – the least made part – is the creature trait. Secretary a X-Files Monster episode of the week with a dash of cricket-style thriller juice, Near the boneThe catalyst for action is the sudden discovery of a creature in the forest. This code – as the researchers call zoological students in the book – is big, cruel, and most of all, clever. Unlike bears or more common creatures, the carp does not only store its food, it collects and separates bones from organs. He moves quickly and without sound, and … well, likes to play with his food. About. There are a few motives that are hinted at, but unlike this week’s monster episode, neither Mulder nor Scully will connect the dots, which is strangely frustrating. The sudden appearance of the carpath and its motives for hunting down Mattie, William, Griffin, CP and Jen are unsolved mysteries. Why is it not something we get into Near the bone And that makes sense – but it reduces the overall impact of the story. (Still, the carp is the whole reason for Matty’s ultimate motivation to run away.)
This review said, the author does a good job of building tension through the sequences with the creature – and William’s double spirit aspect and the crypto hovering over Matty’s choices is very frightening. This, together with the heartbreaking narration of Matty and the refreshing and damaged good Samaritans who intervene, causes Near the bone Solid amusing reading.
Definitely recommended for anyone who wants to get lost in a good horror thriller.
Rating: 7 – Very good